HOUSTON – An unlikely supporter defended a Houston gospel singer and pastor accused of “gay bashing” during a recent sermon.

“Kim Burrell loves people,” O’Rhonde Chapman said.

Chapman credits Burrell for helping change his life.

“(She) supported me, embraced me, encouraged me and inspired me to be all that I have become today,” Chapman said.

Eight years ago, Chapman was a transgendered Nimitz High School student fighting for acceptance.

Later, homelessness and identity issues led him to Life and Liberty Fellowship Church. He found its pastor, Kim Burrell, with arms wide open.

“I was openly gay at the time,” he said. “So (Burrell) embraced me. She didn’t shun me. She didn’t have hatred towards me. She treated me in a way that I was supposed to be treated.”

Burrell pushed Chapman to chase his dream of going to design school and starting his own fashion line.

So, when he saw a snippet of a recent Burrell sermon shared online then criticized as “gay bashing,” Chapman cringed.

Then, when Ellen DeGeneres canceled Burrell’s planned appearance on The Ellen Show to promote her music featured in the upcoming film “Hidden Figures,” Chapman chose to speak up.

“Even hearing that snippet, I still know that her heard for people to do right and her heart after making sure that God’s mission was completed was every bit of pure no matter how it’s being received,” he said.

He wishes critics judged the singer-pastor by past actions more than part of a sermon.